Navy vet inspires others

By Sgt. Eric Johnson, 5th Mobile PA Detachment on July 27, 2017

Neither the gym, house chores or being disabled will stop this retired Navy chief petty officer from staying active.

For some, getting to the gym is a hassle. Finding the time and energy is just too difficult.

For others, like 79-year-old retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Kimble Hartwell, neither Agent Orange nor dependence on a wheelchair are enough to keep him from his gym workouts.

"I am driven by trying to improve my strength and improve my overall health," Hartwell said. "At my age, even though I don't feel my age, I just keep trying to live a healthy lifestyle."

Keeping in shape is Hartwell's main goal, but along the way he has been inspiring others.

"When I saw the senior person on the rower, he inspired me so much to push myself," said Staff Sgt. Hector Garcia, Headquarter and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps. "There is nothing like seeing a man who is retired and keeping himself in shape".

Hartwell, a veteran of 25 years, enjoys using the rowing machine the recumbent bike three days a week at Jensen Family Health and Fitness Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Hartwell hasn't settled for just sitting on his front porch in a rocking chair letting life pass him by. Given his age, he continues an active lifestyle by continuing to keep in shape. The gym is his main place, but he does a lot around the house such as washing windows and cars along with keeping the place spotless.

Hartwell said the standards of the military today are different than when he was in because when he served in the Navy they didn't have physical fitness tests.

"The guys that took care of the ship, the Boatswain mates and the seaman did a lot of hard work on the ship so they were the ones who kept in shape," he said. "I was a trombonist in the band and we didn't do much around the ship that kept us in shape."

The Army Wellness Centers work with a wide variety of individuals and shows them different programs that can help them continue to be active.

Brittney Wiblin, health educator with the AWC, which is located at the Jensen gym on JBLM, accredits retirees with using the MWR in a variety of ways.

"A lot of people are utilizing the exercise classes. Some are doing individual workout plans, whereas some have trainers and some of them come to us at the AWC," she said.
People who are interested in using the Army Wellness Center or would like some more information on what they offer can visit their website at or call 253.966.3757.